Online piracy and internet counterfeiting are unfortunate realities in our Information Age. On the Internet, a counterfeiter can sell consumers a pair of counterfeit Louboutins or a fake Hermes Birkin bag purchased with the simple click of a mouse. Other online pirates can sell consumers unauthorized copies of their favorite television show, movie, or music with impunity. In response to the onslaught of online counterfeiters, Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-Vt) and senior Republican member Orrin Hatch (R-Ore) have introduced the Combating Online Infringement and Counterfeits Act ("COICA")(S. 3804)1, a bipartisan bill that would give the Justice Department an expedited means to track and shut down unlawful domains devoted to the unauthorized downloading, streaming, and sale of copyrighted content and counterfeit goods. On November 18, 2010, the Senate Judiciary Committee unanimously voted in favor of COICA and sent the bill to the full Senate for consideration.
Senator Leahy noted in his press statement on the passage of COICA by the Judiciary Committee that "rogue websites are essentially digital stores selling illegal and sometimes dangerous products. If they existed in the physical world, the store would be shuttered immediately and the proprietors would be arrested. We cannot excuse the behavior because it happens online and the owners operate overseas. The Internet needs to be free – not lawless. The [COICA] will give the Department of Justice a new and more efficient process for cracking down on rogue websites, regardless of where overseas the criminals are hiding."
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